The new "ransomware" model

Posted on: Fri, 10/27/2017 - 22:15 By: ldsandon

Adobe realesed, among other products, the new relase of Lightroom. Actually it released two, a cloud based one which took the name of Lightroom CC, and what shoudl have been Lightroom 7, which is now renamed Lightroom Classic (actually, the full product name would be Photoshop Lightroom CC Classic - software names are becoming more and more stupid - just look at Windows 10).

The "Classic" moniker, despite Adobe denying it (but it also denied it would have removed the perpetual license), made many of us think that version is going to disappear, replaced by the cloud version. Many people see the "cloud" as the future, although in many ways is a return to the past of big mainframes, and their storage and software rented to remote users. Sure, it may look interesting to have your file stored on a remote system that should also take care of backups (but read Adobe Term of Service, actually they take no resposibility for data loss), and access and edit them everywhere. But, as usual, the devil is in the details.

The main issue is the huge the loss of control. Once you file and your edits are fully stored on Adobe servers, and you can access them only through Adone software, you're totally locked in the Adobe cage (feel free to replace Adobe with any other company offering the same model). In many ways, it's a huge ransomware you sent your files to, yourself. You will have to pay - and keep on paying, or will lose everything.

Sure, right now you can, with many limitations, keep a localy copy (main storage is the cloud anyway). But, believe me, soon they will tell you you don't need much local storage, when the cloud can take of every need. Chromebooks are already following that path. Once you no longer have enough space to store your data locally, you'll be an hostage in the cloud.

Sure, maybe you could move your images to another cloud - in EU GDPR may help to block attempts to hinder it, in the US will be very different-, but would be the other cloud able to read the edits you applied to your data? Again, read the Adobe ToS - there are clear limitations on what you can do on the files stored in the cloud, for example, you can't run "data mining" applications, on your photos. That means any non Adobe DAM which may extract metadata form the images, for example. You can access your photos only through the Adobe API - which are fully controlled by Adobe. They decide what you can do with your data. They can block competing application from accessing the metadata, data and edits. People won't able to reverse engineer formats, and allow other applications read and import them.

I'm not against the idea of some remote storage, and even some rented applications. I'm very worried if they become the only ones available, and I lose control over my data.

In many ways, this is the beginning of the end of Personal Computing - data and application won't be Personal any longer. They will be stored in someone else's black box impenetrable to users. You will be able to see only what the rented applications will let you to see - as long as you keep on paying for the privilege. You will be no longer able to find your grandparent's photos in a box in the attic - they will be deleted not long after the payments stop. If you will find yourself in the situation, even temporary, of not being able to sustain the cloud subscription payments, you may lose your data. Just like a ransomware.